Friday, June 22, 2007

Service Medals

When Mom found out that I was starting to dabble in genealogy, she remembered that she had some sheets of paper that outlined the Washburn family history. And, those seven sheets of paper have been fascinating to read. The earliest details of the history were recorded in a family bible that was given to my great great great grandmother, Martha Kinsey Washburn, by her mother, my great great great great grandmother, Esther Kinsey. (I'm still working on tracking down her maiden name.)

Then, after that information was recorded, several other family members worked together to chronicle the family moves, marriages, births, and deaths for all of the family from 1835 leading up to my mom's generation. And, now, I am trying to do my part in continuing the history by tracking down some of my 4th cousins around the country. I am hoping they will respond.

As was mentioned in yesterday's post, I was always curious about Grandad's involvement in the service and World War II. Mom has explained that Grandad was always hesitant to talk about it anyway, and that is understandable. But, I wondered if he moved around a lot, what he saw in Europe, and where he even started his training. Even though I wasn't able to speak to him about it by the time I knew to ask him, thankfully, the family history has preserved his involvement:

Loren graduated from Wapella High School in 1936 and entered military service on April 21, 1941 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. Went to Spartanburg, South Carolina for basic training and was assigned to the 28th Division at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. Was on maneuvers in South Carolina two months and was en route back to Pennsylvania on December 7, 1941 when war was declared. Went to Louisiana for several months and then to Florida and from there, Virginia. Went to Wales in November 1943 and went all over England. Went over the Channel to Normandy Beach in France June 18, 1944 and was wounded in action in August 1944 and flown back to England. (Strem Notes: As I understand it, he landed 12 days after the initial entry into Normandy. (D-Day, June 6, 1944) The entire assault and plan to take control of northwestern Europe had the codename Operation Overlord. This ran from June 6, 1944 through August 19, 1944. The initial phase - in which Grandad was involved - was aimed to gain foothold on the continent and was named Operation Neptune. This operation lasted from June 6, 1944 through June 30, 1944.) Spent six months in England in the hospital recovering from wounds and returned to the States on the Queen Mary to a hospital in Spokane, Washington in January 1945 and discharged from the hospital on July 30, 1945. Shipped to Miami Beach, Florida and then separation center company at Fort Sheridan, Illinois in August 1945. Honorably discharged as Sergeant at Fort Sheridan September 22, 1945 and returned home.

A few times, I've seen his service medals. But, I never understood what each of them represented. So, since I've heard a lot about these in books and movies... and believed that you might have done so also, I thought I would list some of his here - along with links to information I could find about them.

Pre-Pearl Harbor Badge (also called American Defense Service Medal)

Good Conduct Medal

Combat Infantry Badge

European Theatre of Operations (letter m at this site)(2 Battle Stars)

American Theatre of Operations (letter k at this site)

Purple Heart (pictured above)

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